In an effort to support clean energy and improve the efficiency of water infrastructure across the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced that up to $3 million in gap funding grants will be made available to municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities to help these plants reduce their energy use, operating costs and carbon footprint. The gap funding grant program is designed to expedite implementation of previously assessed energy efficiency and clean energy generation projects at municipal plants. The program helps to fill the last \u0022gap\u0022 in project financing, enabling municipalities to use utility incentives and funds from other sources to build or install selected efficiency and clean energy projects.\n\n\u0022Protecting drinking water and continually improving our energy efficiency are priorities for our Administration, and the gap funding grant program will help support our clean energy resources while providing residents with safe, clean water,\u0022 said Governor Charlie Baker. \u0022In addition to energy and environmental protections, the grants awarded will help lower operating costs and improve the resilience and climate readiness of the state\u0027s water infrastructure.\u0022\n\n\u0022Gap funding grants are a crucial resource for communities eager to upgrade important drinking and wastewater facilities,\u0022 said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. \u0022Through the reduction of energy use and carbon emissions, cities and towns across the Commonwealth will recognize lower operating costs while enjoying environmental and air quality improvements.\u0022\n\nThe initial round of grants from the gap funding program awarded 21 water and wastewater facilities more than $1.7 million to help fund 30 clean energy and efficiency projects. These projects leveraged nearly $2 million in additional energy utility incentives, leading to the installation of $10.9 million in clean energy improvement projects. The initial gap projects will reduce enough electricity to fully heat and power 897 Massachusetts homes every year for nearly 15 years. The resulting avoided greenhouse gas emissions is equivalent to removing 5,369 cars from the road for those 15 years.\n\n\u0022The announcement of streamlined financial support will allow facilities to take advantage of multiple funding sources and jump-start the installation of energy efficiency and clean energy generation projects,\u0022 said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. \u0022By filling the last gap in the financing package for these projects, communities around the state will be able to recognize significant cost savings that will be reinvested into drinking and wastewater facilities.\u0022\n\nIn 2016, a cost-benefit analysis of the energy efficiency projects during the initial gap funding round was completed in partnership with the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Policy Navigation Group in Washington, D.C. The total Massachusetts investment of $2.5 million in energy efficiency projects will result in more than $40.2 million in public benefits over 15 years; yielding more than $31 million in energy savings for water facilities and over $9 million of public environmental benefits. The benefit-cost ratio means that $15 of public benefits will be achieved for every public dollar invested.\n\n\u0022Drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities are often among the largest energy users in a community,\u0022 said Commissioner Martin Suuberg of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which operates the initiative under its Clean Energy Results Program. \u0022Gap funding allows these utilities to deliver both immediate and long-term returns and efficiencies to municipal water ratepayers, and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from their plant operations.\u0022\n\nThe additional $3 million in funding to be awarded in January will allow the program to expand and fill the financing gap for another 20 to 30 treatment facilities. The grants are being provided by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) from funds obtained as Alternative Compliance Payments made in lieu of compliance with the Class I and Class II Renewable Portfolio Standards and Alternative Portfolio Standards.\n\n\u0022Massachusetts is a national leader in energy efficiency and clean energy, saving all ratepayers billions of dollars on energy costs annually and reducing our overall emissions,\u0022 said DOER Commissioner Judith Judson. \u0022Not only will these grants give water treatment facilities the funding they need to complete vital projects, but the resulting energy efficiency and renewable energy savings will allow the municipalities to further invest in their infrastructure going forward.\u0022\n\n\u0022Investing in both innovative and traditional water technologies not only improves water quality, but increases energy efficiency and strengthens critical water infrastructure that is vital to our communities,\u0022 said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Stephen Pike. \u0022We look forward to working with our partners at the Departments of Environmental Protection and Energy Resources to improve wastewater treatment facilities across the Commonwealth.\u0022\n\n\u0022It was very helpful to receive grant funding to support our Solar PV Project, currently generating over 200,000 kWh per year, and our Variable Frequency Drive Project, anticipated to save over 1 million kWh per year, which will be online in early 2018,\u0022 said Managing Director Sam Corda of the Cambridge Water Department, which participated in the first round of gap funding. \u0022Together, both projects will save our community $132,000 a year in energy costs.\u0022\n\n\u0022This program is a great example of a state and local partnership that improves energy efficiency, protects the environment, and saves taxpayers money,\u0022 said Town Manager Ron San Angelo of Southbridge, another community that participated in the first round of gap funding. \u0022The Governor and his team deserve great praise for moving this program forward.\u0022\n\nMunicipalities and regional water and wastewater system operators can find the gap program Notice of Intent and information on how to apply for a grant here. Grant applications will be accepted starting on Nov. 6, and the grant filing deadline is 5 p.m. on Nov. 24, 2017.